Maputo: UNICEF is deploying staff and preparing medical and nutrition supplies, water, sanitation and hygiene kits, as well as setting up temporary learning spaces to support children and families affected by Tropical Storm Ana, which made landfall on central and northern Mozambique on 24 January.
More than 45,000 people, including 23,000 women and children, are likely to need humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of the storm that hit Nampula, Zambezia, Tete, Niassa, Sofala and Manica provinces.
The powerful storm caused floods, damaged almost 10,500 homes as well as public infrastructure, including bridges, powerlines, schools, water systems, and health facilities. According to the Mozambican National Institute for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (INGD), as of 26 January, 12 health facilities and 346 classrooms (137 schools) have been damaged or destroyed, leaving 27,383 students without a place to learn, in advance of the new school year that is scheduled to start on Monday 31 January. These figures are expected to increase as teams on the ground are still assessing the situation.
Given that Mozambique is in its rainy season, the situation could deteriorate quickly if another tropical depression or cyclone brings significant additional rains to already full rivers and dams.
"We are working together with the Mozambican government and our partners to provide life-saving assistance to children and their families in the affected areas," said Maria Luisa Fornara, UNICEF Representative in Mozambique in a press release on Thursday.
"This latest storm to hit Mozambique is a blunt reminder that the climate crisis is very much a reality and children are most impacted by climate-related severe weather events," Fornara added.
In the next few days, UNICEF’s emergency teams will begin distributing essential supplies such as buckets, soap and water purification tablets, ready-to-use therapeutic food for malnourished children, and will set up temporary learning spaces where children whose schools have been damaged/destroyed can learn and play safely. UNICEF has been sharing protective and preventive messages to mitigate the impact of the storm through provincial and local radios, multimedia mobile units and U-Report.
UNICEF estimates that it will need US$ 3.5 million to respond to the immediate needs of the populations affected by Tropical Storm Ana in Mozambique. The organization is using its prepositioned supplies and mobilizing internal funds.
From 2016 to 2021, the country has faced two severe drought events and eight tropical storms, including the major Cyclones Idai and Kenneth that hit the country in 2019 within a time span of six weeks and affected 2.5 million people. According to the disaster risk assessment tool INFORM, Mozambique ranks 9 out of 191 countries globally due to the country’s high vulnerability to hazards, exposure to risks, and lack of coping capacity.